Tech News: Cybercafes Get A New Interface

While the cybercafé has grown increasingly rare in North America, in many developing nations it remains the gateway to the Internet and a gathering place integral to community life.  Such is the case in many African nations where these local cafés are still very relevant and the standard way to get online.

The typical scene in these cafes is a crowded one, both with people and bulky computer units that that serve a very limited number of users at a time given the space and energy they require.  Internet connection is often slow, machines unreliable and energy costs huge.

The system could be much more efficient for customers and owners alike. Which is why Google is rethinking the “user interface”, not of a new digital software but of the physical space of the internet cafe.  What, exactly does this look like?  A tablet café.  By replacing desktops with tablets the entire experience of getting online has been transformed for locals in Dakar, where Google is piloting the program.

The first major advantage of the program is economic: tablet cafés make good business sense.  Owners stand to save a significant amount of revenue on electricity, savings that Google Africa hopes, “can be reinvested in faster connectivity to bring in more customers.”

From a social-change standpoint, potential benefits of the program are even greater.  Though customers do not own the tablets, the impact of putting cutting edge technologies into the hands of under-served populations is immeasurable.   Customers emerge with something much more valuable than a tablet: technological literacy that corresponds with some of the most advanced devices and operating systems in the world.  The potential for the democratization through knowledge here is huge.

Finally, from a community building perspective the physical layout tablets afford is inherently more social and much closer to that of a traditional cafe.  Rather than hunched over in separate cubicles customers can sit comfortably on couches, chat and share with total ease.

Do you think tablet cafes are the future face of internet access in the developing world? Can the barriers to sustainability of the program be overcome? Share your thoughts with us!

How do I delete the data from my iPad?

Posted on February 06, 2013 | Apple, iPad, Mac, resale, tablet, Tech tips

The latest, memory-rich iPad has just hit the shelves. Did you decide to upgrade? Perhaps you were inspired by all the tablet chatter on the internet to trade in your old iPad and use the money to subsidize a newer model.

Whatever your reason, we have created a very simple, step-by-step process explaining the best way to delete the data from your iPad so it is ready for re-sale.

1. Start up your iPad and go Settings > General. Then scroll down to Reset.

2. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.

3. Enter your passcode (if you have one).

4. Tap Erase.

All done! It couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is restart your iPad to confirm that it has all been wiped.

Now that you’ve cleared your data you can safely sell your iPad or pass it on to some you really like.

If you have a few smartphones lying around that you’d like to wipe, ready for resale or re-gifting, check out our how-to posts on erasing data from iPhones and erasing data from Blackberrys.

One last question – do I have to delete the data myself if I send my device to ExchangeMyPhone?
Most people want to stay on top of deleting their own data, and we are happy to offer these explanations.  Of course, here at ExchangeMyPhone our standard procedure includes total immediate data wiping for all products received. So, if you are sending a phone or device to us here at ExchangeMyPhone, there’s no need to worry about doing it wrong or having sent a device with data still on it – we’ll always double-check and rewipe.

If you’ve any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

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iPad for business – Apple’s 128GB memory fix

Posted on January 30, 2013 | Android, Apple, iPad, tablet, Tech tips

Apple has launched a 128GB iPad.

128GB iPad

Cupertino’s latest unveiling has twice the memory of existing models, offering users more space to store movies, videos and books amid mounting competition in the tablet market.

“With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

In all other respects the device is practically identical to the current, fourth-generation iPad (so far it has been available with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of memory).

The 128GB iPad will be available starting Feb. 5, priced at $799 for a Wi-Fi version and $929 for a device that also offers a cellular connection.

Timing is key – the launch follows Microsoft’s announcing the pricing and availability of Surface Pro tablet ($899 for the 64GB model and $999 for the 128GB model) and the iPad will begin shipping February 5th, four days before Surface Pro goes on sale.

128GB iPad and Surface Pro tablet

How do you like the new iPad, considering the hefty price tag? Would you, or your business, buy one? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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5 Tech Resolutions for the New Year

Posted on January 02, 2013 | Apps, cell phone, ExchangeMyPhone tips, phone, tablet, Tech tips

New year’s resolutions traditionally seem to revolve around drinking, smoking, eating and exercising. More of some and less of others. On January 1st they are conscientiously begun and, by the middle of the year, they have been almost entirely forgotten.

new years resolutions

So we have come up with something a little different: 5 tech resolutions that are easy to start and require very little willpower to maintain throughout the year:

1) Change your passwords. If you haven’t done it in the past 4 months, it’s a great idea to change all those passwords you use online. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes and you’ll feel incredibly responsible afterwards, safe in the knowledge that you have secured all your personal information. If possible, try and do it at least 3 times this year. If you’re worried about keeping track of all those passwords, look into storing them in a password vault.
2) Back up your data. We have all seen those Facebook status updates from friends (or perhaps we’ve posted them ourselves) saying that their phone was stolen and/or broken and they’ve lost all of their contacts. We all know how important it is to back up our data but it is one of those jobs that always gets pushed to the bottom of our to-do lists. Why not bite the bullet and set up an online backup service or invest in an external hard drive? If you have an apple device, it couldn’t be easier, just make sure your iCloud backup is turned on throughout the year.
3) Go through all your emails. This may take a little longer than the first two, but it is well worth the effort. There is something deeply gratifying about tidying up your inbox, deleting old messages, putting important emails away in folders and unsubscribing from those email newsletters that you never read. Plus, it will make opening your emails every morning much easier and far less time consuming.
4) Delete apps you’re not using. This is a great and easy way to clean your devices and create new space. Go through your phone and computer and delete any apps and files you haven’t used in a couple months.
5) Take tech breaks. Spending time on our laptops, cell phones and tablets can become addictive, and not always in a good way. Step away from your gadgets and make the time to take a walk, have a coffee with an old friend and read a great book. Sometimes disconnecting for a while can be just the ticket to regaining some energy and perspective.

 

Do you have any tech resolutions for the new year that you’re excited to start?

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Gift guide for the smartphone lover on your list

Posted on December 05, 2012 | Android, cell phone, iPad, iPhone, Mac, mobile, smartphone, tablet, Tech tips

In time for the holiday season we have put together our top 5 gifts for the smartphone fanatic in your life. If they’re a true tech lover, we’re guessing that they already own the latest Apple, Android  or Windows products, so we have scoured the web for the best gadgets to complement their phones and tablets. Whoever they are, we hope we have something they’ll like:

The vintage collector

This amazing creation from the folks at Restoration Hardware is not cheap but we think it is pretty amazing for any iPad or iPhone owner who spends their Sundays trolling flea markets. You just set the device in the solid walnut dock and the metal gramophone horn will boost its volume by three to four times. All without any need for electricity.

The Eco-Maven

This beautiful FM radio has a MP3 output so you can easily hook it up to your iPod or iPhone. The internals are housed in a minimalist card structure that can be easily recycled when the product reaches the end of its life.

The Movie Buff

The perfect gift for anyone who travels often and loves the idea of on-the-go entertainment (parents with young kids will love you forever). This pocket projector attaches to your iPhone 4 or 4S device to display crisp video anywhere, onto any surface.

The safe-keeper

In everyone’s family there always seems to be someone who walks around with a janitor-like key chain. Why not give them a gift that gets rid of that gangling weight in their pockets? Enter the Lockitron. This amazing new software lets users electronically unlock doors anywhere from their home to their car and their gym locker, using any type of phone from anywhere in the world.

The traveler

Anyone who travels often knows what a pain it can be to pack all the cables needed for their various gadgets. The Juice Buddy is the world’s smallest charger and it eliminates the need to cart around any iPhone cables. The little box just attaches to your key chain and provides an iPhone charger wherever and whenever you need it most. Simply plug it directly into the wall and then dock your iPhone in the top.

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Phone recycling: New York’s ExchangeMy(Pay)Phone

Posted on November 26, 2012 | Amazing tech, eco-economy, iPad, mobile, New York, phone, Re-use, Recycling, tablet

At ExchangeMyPhone sometimes we feel like we are the only ones who love to “geek out” about phone recycling but as it turns out we have company…a lot! In fact, the City of New York shares our niche passion but only when it comes to a very specific type of phone: the pay phone. Remember those? Yes they still exist, actually there are 1,500 pay phones in Manhattan alone. But in a town where even some toddlers are iPhone clad, most of the pay phones sit idle collecting soot and taking up space.

pay phone recycling

So what’s the solution?  The city government has teamed up with developer City24x7 to launch a pilot program to turn 250 pay phone booths into free information kiosks in all five boroughs.  But wait, there’s more. These kiosks are interactive, touch screen devices that connect users to all kinds of vital information: from where the nearest Pinkberry is located, to live transit updates and evacuation routes in the event of a natural disaster.  The development of this new communal software leverages the neighborhood watch philosophy by putting “vital messaging onto our streets and into our hands; providing everyone with access to urban communication when and where they may be.”

City24x7

The cornerstone of  City24x7′s Smart Screens is the the democratization and proliferation of mobile media, or as they put it, “built with access for all.”  The devices provide geo-specific content on a high contrast screen for the visually impaired, they have a Wayfinder key-fob access point for the blind, headphone jacks/induction loops for the hearing-impaired and are wheelchair accessible as well as multilingual.

The 32-inch touch-screens are made from ATM strength glass so defacement is not a top concern.  Really the only possible buzz kill could be the potential germ swapping, which, if you live in New York you are already well aware of.  But according to City24x7 they’ll be more sanitary than an ATM. “They’re built to be cleaned with a jet hose,” said CEO Tom Touchet, the former executive producer of the “Today” show. “They’re waterproof and dust-proof.”

re-imagined pay phones for New Yorkers

So not only are these re-imagined pay phones good for New Yorkers, they are good for the city budget.  The installation and operation runs at no costs NYC but, after the pilot program, 36% of revenue will go to fund other city programs.  Furthermore, with the information kiosks as a platform, local government will be able to remind citizens about bike-shares, free events and even how to get their tax refund.  Now what payphone can do that?

Sports Fan with a Smartphone: Following the London 2012 Summer Olympics

London 2012 Olympics Logo

With the London 2012 Olympics set to start in just two days, smartphone and tablet users can expect a host of new apps, mobile viewing options, and clever technological advancements designed to enhance their Olympic experience in an unprecedented way.

London 2012 Olympics Official Apps

Official Apps

To help fans around the world stay up-to-date on all things Olympics, London 2012 has released three official mobile apps. The Join In app provides users lucky enough to make the trip to London with a guide to all the events, celebrations, and activities the Games have to offer. The Results app supplies up-to-date event results, as well as schedules, medal tables, and athlete profiles. London 2012’s third offering is the Official London 2012 mobile game, which features nine Olympic events ranging from track and field to swimming.

NBC Olympics On the Go

Mobile Viewing

The 2012 Summer Games will mark the first time in history that all 32 Olympic sports will be streamed live on the internet. To help viewers access as much video as humanly possible, NBC Olympics and BBC Sport have released enhanced mobile viewing apps to users in the US and UK, respectively.

In addition to their mobile website, NBC Olympics offers US sports fans two other on-the-go options for satisfying all of their Olympic cravings. The NBC Olympics “Live Extra” App offers comprehensive live coverage of all 302 events of the Game’s 32 sports and is free to subscribers of any TV service package that includes CNBC and MSNBC. The NBC Olympics “Live Extra” App is available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

The network has also made available the NBC Olympics App, which features live updates, video highlights, and the ability to follow your favorite athletes, teams, and sports on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. The NBC Olympics App is also available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

For viewers in the UK, BBC Sport has released an app that provides up to 24 streams of live coverage, video highlights, and detailed schedules and results of every Olympic event. The BBC Olympics app is available for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices.

Samsung Galaxy S3 London Olympics 2012

Connected Hospitality

With the majority of Olympics-related technology targeted at on-the-go consumers, Samsung saw an opportunity to launch some new smartphone capabilities for users looking for a place to rest their heads.

Partnering with the new Holiday Inn London Stratford City, situated next to the Olympic Park, Samsung has set up 40 rooms to be able to utilize the company’s Galaxy S III smartphone as an end-to-end hospitality solution. Equipped with the official smartphone of the Olympic Games, VIP guests will have the ability to check in and out of their rooms; control their lighting, air condition, and television; and utilize their phones as hotel room keys, simply by downloading the Holiday Inn for Android app.

Readers’ Choice

How will you be following the Games? We’re always on the lookout for tips and suggestions, so if there’s anything we missed we’d be thrilled to hear about it in the comments.

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Let in the Sun

When we talk about solar power its usually on a big scale: heating buildings, powering transportation and the like.  But we often forget that most of our first experiences with the technology were with a simple machine: the calculator. Well, if like ExchangeMyPhone, you are nostalgic for the old days of solar simplicity, you’re in luck. Solar energy is currently trickling back into this scaled-down objects and more people are looking to the sun to run appliances like the iPad.

Apple may not (yet) be selling the iSun power source, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for them. In fact, the market for providing alternative energy to small electronics is growing quickly and there are a number of options out there for the iPad in particular. So, to save you the guess work, ExchangeMyPhone brings you the Cadillac of solar power iPad cases: The KudoCase.

Not only can you charge your KudoCase in natural or artificial light, but it automatically tops off the built in battery power so you can go up to ten days before plugging in. The case also charges USB supported accessories like iPhones, and it comes with an HDMI cable for connecting your iPad to a computer monitor or television screen. Unlike some other solar chargers out there made from environmentally harmful materials, the sleek case is made from biodegradable corn plastic: this may sound like a Portlandia reference but we’re not kidding.

And, just for brownie points, KudoCase engineeres included a locator device that beeps when you whistle so you don’t have to tear your room apart when you misplace your iPad. For a case that does so much, we think it is a pretty brilliant deal at $189.95. What do you think?

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